Week of January 27, 2017


I’ll roll with White Goodman in this competition.

The Athlete Stock Market is a Real Thing


One of the advantages of being snowed in this weekend was that I had nothing to do but watch the NFC and AFC Championships in Tahoe while eating smoked tri-tip. Outside of the college national championship game between Clemson and Alabama, I don’t think I watched a full football game on TV this year. I’ll admit it: I was eager to hunker down, and while the games were duds, I was impressed with a couple of dudes I’ve never heard of before. Chris Hogan of the Patriots exposed the Steelers, and Mohamed Sanu was part of the Falcons receiving core that flat out overmatched the Packers secondary. So when I was scrolling headlines, Sanu’s name stood out. The story his name is connected to is unbelievable at first glance, but the logical next step of fandom once you think about it for a moment.

Did you know there is a stock market for athletes? This is real. As the NY Times’ Ken Belson explains:

“Sanu is one of a handful of N.F.L. players who were paid a hefty upfront fee by a company called Fantex Holdings in return for a share of his future earnings.

“The company formed a trading exchange several years ago on which investors could buy and sell shares of a tracking stock tied to an athlete’s financial performance and which rises or falls based on the athlete’s perceived value. The idea was to create a chance for investors and fans to cash in on a player’s rising fortunes, whether it be a new contract, a sponsorship deal or other sources of income related to his football career.”

First there were sports cards. Then came fantasy sports. Daily fantasy (gambling fantasy). And now this: Player investment for regular folks. The concept makes perfect sense for the level of players linked to Fantex.

Arian Foster was the first, and he was paid handsomely for it: $10M for 20% of all future earnings related to his football career (player salary, sponsorship, or “other sources of income related to hit football career”). It’s worth noting the company pulled Foster’s “IPO” after he tore his Achilles in 2015. Foster struck a deal with Fantex in 2013. He retired midway through the 2016 season. Back of the napkin math tells me he took the upfront $10M, knowing that he’d come out ahead unless he made more than $50M due to football.

Here are other players who’ve struck a deal with Fantex, their upfront payments, and the percentage of earnings they cut to Fantext*:

  • Alshon Jeffery (WR, Chicago) – $7.9M (13%)
  • Vernon Davis (TE, Washington) – $4M (10%)
  • EJ Manuel (QB, Buffalo) – $4.9M (10%)
  • Ryan Shazier (LB, Pittsburgh) – $3.1M (10%)

Does it make sense for Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, or Julio Jones? Not likely. One would think they’ve made enough money already to negate the kind of insurance policy Fantex offers players. But remember – most N.F.L. contracts are not guaranteed. The idea makes a lot of sense for players with uncertain futures (pretty much all players in the N.F.L), and I get it from Fantex’s perspective, too. While I understand the logic from a fan/investor perspective, who the hell wants to bet on the outcome of a professional athlete’s career? Oh wait – people will bet on anything.

I’m not a gambler, but it isn’t the rush connected to betting on sports in the immediacy of it? You make a bet, you watch the game. You win or you lose, and in some ridiculous way, you feel like you partook in the sporting event. Also, doesn’t this feel like a setup ripe for insider trading? What incentive did Arian Foster have to be forthright with Fantex when he signs that deal? I guess Fantex would be worth a nickel if it didn’t factor in that possibility as well.

I don’t know – this idea of trading in human commodities feels gross. – PAL

Source: Want a Piece of Mohamed Sanu? Go Out and Buy Some Shares”, Ken Belson, The New York Times (01/23/17)

*numbers pulled from Fortune article in 2015. 

TOB: Phil, you precious little snowflake, you’re looking at it wrong. In a way it’s a paid up-front insurance policy. You get a big chunk of cash, and it may end up costing you more in the longterm, but that’s the gamble you make. Makes sense to me. Foster made out like a bandit. He was paid $10M by Fantex in 2013. From 2013-2016, he made less than $20M, 0f which they got $4M. Although it does sound to me like Fantex might also get a cut of earnings outside of football, such as endorsements.

By the way, who would have been your best ground floor player? Mine would have been Aaron Rodgers, who I knew was going to be great the first time I saw him throw a pass in a college game, and who I still thought would be great even when he was backing up Brett Favre for the first three years of his career. I also would have liked to buy low on Marshawn Lynch when he left Buffalo. I still believed, damnit.

The Two Buck Chuck of Golf Balls

This might be one of the stupidest and most amusing stories I’ve read since we started this blog: Costco started selling golf balls under its Kirkland brand for $29/2 dozen, about half the cost of many name brands. Costco, as it turns out, got them from the same Korean manufacturer who creates golf balls for TaylorMade. As with Two Buck Chuck and Trader Joes, the manufacturer had a surplus and sold them cheap to Costco.


Word got out, thanks to the internet, that these Kirkland golf balls were actually really good, and they began to sell like hotcakes. They sold out quickly, and thus created a secondary market for these Kirkland golf balls, where they are selling on eBay for twice their retail price which *bangs head on the wall* is the SAME PRICE YOU CAN GET THE TAYLORMADE GOLF BALLS FOR. I felt like I was taking crazy pills reading the golfers in this article, talking about the lengths they go and the prices they pay to get these Kirkland golf balls…while the exact same ball is available for the same price at your local Dick’s Sporting Goods. Somebody pinch me. This is too stupid. I must be dreaming. -TOB

Source: The Most Coveted Ball in Golf is From Costco”, Brian Costa, Wall Street Journal (01/19/2017)

A Comeback for the Ages

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, will face off in the Australian Open finals this weekend. It is the first finals appearance in a major for Venus since 2009. Serena has the chance to break her tie with Steffi Graf by winning her 23rd major, which would be the most in the Open era. It’s pretty cool, but I was struck by the story of the woman Serena beat in the semifinals – Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. Mirjana is 34, still younger than both Serena and Venus, and ranked only 79th in the world. Mirjana’s appearance in the semifinals is her first in a major since Wimbledon in 1999, when she beat Monica Seles in the quarters only to lose to Steffi Graf in the next round. 1999 feels like a lifetime ago to me, and must feel like more to her. She was 17 then, and big things were expected of her. She dropped off the tour for years after publicly accusing her father of mental and physical abuse as he groomed her for tennis stardom. She then ran into financial problems, and dropped off the tour again in the mid-2000s, not returning until 2010. Knowing that backstory certainly gives some context to her on-court interview after making the semifinals:

I saw this before she lost to Serena in the semifinals. I am a big fan of Serena, but it was hard not to root for Mirjana. What a great story. -TOB

Source: The Incredible Comeback Story of Australian Open Semifinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni“, Jamie Lisanti, Sports Illustrated (01/25/2017)

Video of the Week

This should surprise exactly no one.

PAL Song of the Week: Donny Hathaway – “Jealous Guy” (John Lennon)

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“I get it, you caught the scent of a lesser stag in your nostrils. Pity. ”

-W. Goodman

Week of January 20, 2017

Baller President.

Rock Raines in the Hall of Fame, or Why We Care About Sports

Tim “Rock” Raines was a guy who I juuuuuust missed. He had a short peak, from 1983-1987, in part because of his struggles with cocaine. He did have one last great year in 1992 with the White Sox, and I do remember that. But I’m not sure I thought of him as a Hall of Famer. However, Jonah Keri is one of my favorite writers, and over the last two years, Jonah has undertaken a public campaign to get Rock inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I quickly bought in to Raines as a Hall of Famer. This year was his last chance, and he got in with 86% of the vote (75% is the requirement for election). He was hovering around 50% before Keri began his campaign, which is impressive and speaks to how respected Jonah is in the baseball writing community. Jonah’s campaign was mainly centered around raising awareness/reminding people of Raines’ greatness, and of what Raines meant to Jonah. Raines is to Jonah as Puckett is to Phil. Here, the day Raines’ election to the Hall of Fame was announced, Jonah explains what Raines, and Jonah’s beloved and defunct Expos, meant to him. More broadly, Jonah uses his love of Raines and the Expos to explain why we love sports

Why should we care about any of this? Why are we driving ourselves nuts over a museum in a tiny little village in upstate New York? Why give a damn about a baseball player who retired a decade and a half ago, whose best years came with a team that ceased to exist at nearly the same time? Why care about sports at all, when there are so many seemingly far more important questions to ponder in the universe?

You can conjure a bunch of reasons for why we do care.

For one, we love to argue. We debate, rank, and scrutinize everything from breakfast cereals to pop singers to presidents. Switch to sports and we get electrifying plays, reams of numbers, and clear, binary results. Either your guy won, or he lost.

We also welcome the distraction that sports bring. Life can be damn hard. We get sick. We have our hearts broken. We watch dear friends and family members die. Sports have a way of lifting us up, away from personal tragedies or even the mundane frustrations that get us all down.

For me, sports are a proxy for the people I love, and loved.

But those old memories never fade. More than the Expos or even Raines himself, being a fan was about sitting beside my Papas, watching those first games when I wasn’t yet old enough to fully understand what I was seeing.

That’s why, when Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson called Raines’ name today, I, a 42-year-old man of relatively sane mind, jumped around and yelled like a damn lunatic. It’s why I thumbed through so many old albums, and cried like a damn baby whenever I thought about those very first baseball games.

Preach. -TOB

Source: Why Tim Raines Making the Hall of Fame Means So Much to a Kid From Montreal“, Jonah Keri, CBS Sports (01/19/2017)

PAL: Didn’t see the turn at the end coming. Keri is great – passionate, fresh perspective in baseball writing in a time when it was needed – but his writing and podcasts are hit and miss with me. This article was a hit, and, I’ll be damned if I didn’t get a little choked up there at the end of this article.

Marketing Unicorns in the New N.B.A.

He dunks this...

He dunks this…

Perhaps more than any other American sport – basketball’s popularity is driven by its individual players, and our proximity to them is mattering less and less.

I know who Giannis Antetokounmpo is, even if I can hardly pronounce his name. I know because any of his highlights are immediately delivered to my phone, and I know because I don’t think I’ve seen anything like him. He’s a 7-foot point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks, and he’s what many people consider a unicorn – a “singular talent without antecedent.” Here’s the proof:

This is a really interesting story about a collection of young NBA unicorns, and how to market them when the old equation no longer works (big market, relatable, no lumbering big men):

‘And while the franchises and shoe companies that make up the N.B.A. economy haven’t completely caught up with the online buzz generated by the league’s most dedicated fans, they have begun to prepare for what feels like inevitable change. Antetokounmpo and fellow young “unicorns” like Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Joel Embiid of the Sixers…will go a long way toward determining whether the pro-basketball industrial complex can make as much money appealing to liberated fans as to their hidebound, local-market counterparts.’

No American-based athletes are more recognizable than NBA players. No helmet. No hat. Small playing surface. 10 competitors on the court at a time. With this in mind, it makes sense that “shoe-company nation-states” invest a hell of a lot more in NBA players than MLB, NFL, NHL, or Nascar.

TOB and I went to the Warriors – Thunder game this past Wednesday. As we were walking in, we realized we were about to see 5 of the best 20 players in the NBA in one regular season game: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a sporting event featuring that many of the game’s best. Who of those players would you define as a unicorn? I’d say Durant, Curry, and Westbrook. Needless to say, it was incredibly fun to watch. – PAL

Source: Hunting for Unicorns in the N.B.A”, Jay Caspian Kang, New York Magazine (01/18/2017)

Basketball’s Impact on Barack

As we swear in a new president, I found this article about the impact basketball has had on Barack Obama the day before his inauguration. Although a bit long-winded, it puts together a very clear pattern of how basketball has helped shaped Obama at many phases of his life. Obama’s passion for the game in rooted in what he calls an “improvisation within a discipline that I find very powerful.”

A few weeks ago at work, we went around the room and talked about what we learned in the past year. For me it was clear: All of the lessons I learned in youth sports absolutely apply to my daily life today, and I’ve finally re-embraced them. I scoffed them off for 15 years, but they still remain the best guidelines on how to go about my job. The qualities that makes a good teammate or leader at 12 are the exact same qualities that make a good co-worker or manager.

Here are a few of my favorite bits from this story. If you need a little escapism today, this is a good article to jump into over lunch.

  • Obama on early lessons from the court: “A handful of black men, mostly gym rats and has-beens, would teach me an attitude that didn’t just have to do with the sport. That respect came from what you did and not who your daddy was. That you could talk stuff to rattle an opponent, but that you should shut the hell up if you couldn’t back it up. That you didn’t let anyone sneak up behind you to see emotions—like hurt or fear—you didn’t want them to see.”
  • Obama on being a benchwarmer on his high school team: It’s about “being part of something and finishing it up. And I learned a lot about discipline, about handling disappointments, about being more team-oriented and realizing that not everything is about you.”
  • Brother-in-law Craig Robinson (former Oregon St. coach) on pickup basketball and Obama: “There’s an ethical undertone in pickup that people miss. The game has to be played fairly or it breaks down. You practice an honor code, making your own calls and giving them up. If Barack travels, he’ll give it up, not sneak it by you. You play with hundreds of guys who’d never do that. It all gets back to how you can tell a guy’s character on the court.”

Pickup became Obama’s game after high school, and he used it at every phase of his life.

  • After graduation he took a job on Chicago’s South Side, where he brought together white priests, black pastors and civic leaders to solve common problems. It was frustrating work marked by intermittent victories. For example, he used basketball as a means to get through to an on-the-edge adolescent who was scaling back his expectations for life.
  • “Several years later, at Harvard Law, Obama joined a group of law students who played against inmates at a nearby prison, where the cons lining the court made sure their visitors knew how many packs of cigarettes rode on the outcome.”
  • “Before matters between Barack and Michelle could advance too far, she had a test to administer. Having grown up listening to her father and her brother, a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year at Princeton, insist that a man’s character gets laid bare on the court, she hatched a plan. Craig Robinson rounded up a quorum of friends of varied abilities…Obama found that sweet spot between not shooting every time and not always passing to Craig.”

While the now grey Obama is more likely to play golf than a rough pickup game, I hope he sets aside plenty of time to at least kick a little ass at the local gym. – PAL

Source: The Audacity of Hoops”, Alexander Wolf, Sports Illustrated (01/19/17)

TOB: Maaaaaaaaan, am I gonna miss that guy. I’ve never made a bucket list, but playing pickup with Obama would be on it. I heard he’s headed to Palm Springs this weekend…just sayin. Also, the title of that SI story is amazing.


Video of the Week: 

PAL Song of the Week: Tom Waits – “Frank’s Song”

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All kidding aside, we all know about your credentials, and your breadth of experience. For example, on a recent episode of Celebrity Apprentice, at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around, but you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf, you fired Gary Busey.

These are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir! Well handled.

-B. Obama, #44

Week of January 13, 2017

Clemson over Alabama in an instant classic.

A First-Hand Account of the Tragic Effects of CTE


Zac Easter loved football. His family still does. His dad was once a football coach at a small college, later coached his three boys in high school, and instilled his love for football in his sons. As a father, how then does Myles Easter, Sr. deal with the fact football, the sport he loves and introduced his children to, ended up killing his son, Zac? It’s a question I kept asking myself as I read this tragic yet masterful story. Sadly, he drinks. It’s hard to blame him, though.

Zac was your stereotypical wildman linebacker. As his brother said, “He was there to do some damage.” He was aggressive, and tough. He hit hard, and loved it. He started to get concussions, but did his best to hide the symptoms from coaches and medical personnel in order to stay on the field. In the end, Zac developed CTE, and he knew it years before he died and doctors were able to confirm it. He never played football beyond high school, but by the time he was in college he experienced depression, extreme mood swings, and crippling short-term memory loss. He often had trouble with remembering why he entered a room.

In the end, Zac Easter decided to take his own life. He couldn’t deal with the pain any longer. It’s a story we’ve read before, but the fact Zac documented his descent in a diary, and the way he did so, makes this story so compelling. It also makes this story so hard to read.

The writer, Reid Forgrave, weaves the diary and text messages to and from Zac’s girlfriend, into the story, creating a feeling that you are reading Zac’s downfall in real-time. It’s certainly enough to erase any lingering question in my mind whether I’d let my sons play football. After reading this, how could I?

Source: The Concussion Diaries: One High School Football Player’s Struggle With CTE“, Reid Forgrave, GQ (01/10/2017)

PAL: The last few years have been full of CTE stories, but this story is remarkable because the tragic figure, Zac Easter, is boy when the problems begin and a very young man when they end. He’s not a retired N.F.L. player. What’s more, there’s very little distance between the reader and Easter.  His  journal and texts don’t let us step back from the merciless process of losing one’s self. In writing this story, Forgrave’s greatest achievement is staying out of the story whenever possible, moving us along from Zac Easter’s journal and texts.

There are passages in this story where the tension and stakes are so high that you feel like you’re running alongside the people in Zac’s life. It’s difficult to read, but it’s too powerful to put down.

Bracing for Blame

I hardly even noticed it anymore until I read this story. Every lineman in football seems to wear knee braces. Some are the result of past injury, but as this story highlights, many college teams mandate…wait for it…”prophylactic bracing”. Call me a 12 year-old; I don’t care. That’s hilarious.

Here’s the thing: Multiple studies have shown that braces might not prevent knee injury. In 2008  a systematic review of all studies on whether knee braces prevent injury…concluded that the issue was not so clear-cut. The methodology of the [previous] studies was flawed in many cases, the review found, and several studies even indicated that wearing braces might increase — not decrease — the risk of knee injury.”

Brian Pietrosimone, an exercise science expert who’s done a bunch of research on prophylactic bracing (hehehe), says “In some ways, it has become like taping ankles.  Just about everyone wraps tape on players’ ankles prophylactically, and there is, in reality, very little evidence to support doing that.”

So why do colleges mandate something that isn’t certain to work, especially when many players loathe wearing the braces? My hunch: C.Y.A. Cover your ass. Who cares if it works, it works in that it shows coaches and team medical staffs did the best they could. The problem is that they aren’t doing the best they can. They aren’t listening to their players, and they aren’t paying attention to research that’s taken place in the last 20 years.

There’s hope for those Big Uglies that are good enough to play on Sundays after college. The CBA makes it more difficult for “blanket equipment mandates”. – PAL

Source: Colleges Swear by Football Knee Braces. Not All Players and Experts Do.”, Sam Borden, The New York Times (01/08/2017)

The New Robber Barons


This week, Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced he is officially moving the team to Los Angeles, beginning next season, ending the team’s 50-year stay in San Diego. Yes, that logo up there is real. After it was lambasted on Twitter, the team claimed it is just a placeholder.

Spanos had until this week to determine whether he’d exercise the option to move to L.A. He did so, and it cost him about a billion dollars – he must pay the other owners a $650M relocation fee, and he turned down a reported offer of $350 million from the NFL toward construction of a new stadium. San Diego voters declined to build him a $1.8 billion stadium in November’s election.

The team does not move under the best of circumstances – having seen the Rams play in front of thousands of empty seats at the L.A. Coliseum this season, the Chargers will play two years at the 27,000-seat StubHub Center, home of the MLS’ L.A. Galaxy. No, that was not a typo. The stadium holds 27,000 seats. After two years, the Chargers will share the $2.6 billion Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park (or LASEDHP, for short)…except the Chargers will merely be a tenant.

Sports Illustrated’s Jack Dickey uses this context to survey the current state of NFL ownership and makes this excellent point:

“An observer from outside the sports world could reasonably conclude that the NFL is in actuality a trade group for land barons, and that the game of football is a front. Most owners seem to aspire to little more than keeping up with the Joneses—Jerry and Stephen, in this case. Each new stadium and each renovation pushes existing stadiums toward supposed obsolescence….”

Spanos moved because he felt the team was worth more as a tenant in L.A. than it was in San Diego. Owners don’t care about fans. Or even ticket sales, which is a short-term salve. They care about the resale value of the team. Good for San Diego voters in recognizing that fact, and telling Spanos if he wanted to walk, then he should walk. If all cities would make the same decision, the charade NFL owners are playing would be up. -TOB

Source: San Diego Faces Reality of NFL Stadium Frenzy with Chargers Move”, Jack Dickey, Sports Illustrated (01/12/2017)

PAL: It’s morbidly fascinating that we are financing new football cathedrals while C.T.E. seems to becoming an all too common story. Who will fill the stadiums in 20 years? I don’t know, but rest assured the current owners will be out of the game with another couple billion (what does that even do for a person?) long before the downfall.

And – yes – good for the people of San Diego. I’d rather build a sandcastle on the beach than build an stadium for an owner.

Pudge > Bench

Catcher Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers stands on the field during a game against the Kansas City Royals at the Ball Park in Arlington, Texas. The Royals won the game 6-2.

I was a huge Pudge fan, and he gave me one of the most impressive moments in sports fandom. I was at a Twins game while he was still young with the Rangers. Either we had good seats behind home, or the Dome was so empty that I roamed over there. He threw down to second in between innings – really let one go. I swear to you the ball was never more than 3 or 4 feet off the ground. At the end of the throw – hand to god – the baseball rose right at the end. I swear, runners we’re scared to get hit by the ball:

Maybe the rise-ball is an optical illusion, but Pudge’s throwing runners out was the most impressive thing I’ve seen live at a baseball game aside from Bonds turning on a pitch and sending it into McCovey Cove from super close seats. Pudge is the best defensive catcher (13 Gold Gloves), an excellent hitter (2,800 hits, 311 HR, 572 2B), and he inspired me to wear a fake pair of Oakleys under my mask in youth league (terrible or bold – I still don’t know).

While my dad might have a case for his favorite, Johnny Bench (Dad – give me a call and I’ll show you how to leave a comment), Pudge is the best I’ve ever seen behind the dish, and I can’t imagine anyone better. – PAL

Source: “Is Ivan Rodriguez the greatest catcher ever?”, David Schoenfield, ESPN (01/09/2017)

TOB: Let me throw a name out there. Gerald Dempsey Posey. Don’t scoff. Like Pudge, he has an MVP. Unlike Pudge, he has a batting title. He plays in a pitcher’s park, not that bandbox in Arlington. He has caught three World Series titles. And through his first 7 seasons in the majors, his WAR of 33.5 is well above Pudge’s 24.8 through his first 7 seasons. Yes, Pudge had a better arm (Pudge’s 46% career caught stealing percentage is quite a bit better than Buster’s 33%). But Buster is also the best pitch-framer in the game, and puts his pitchers first. As this article details, Pudge put his own caught stealing stats above what was best for his pitchers, and his pitchers often groused about it both his framing abilities and his pitch calling, as he sacrificed both in order to put himself in the best position to throw out a runner. You can have Pudge. I’ll take Buster.

Video of the Week

This is why you should teach your kids to throw a football.

PAL Song of the Week: Booker T. Jones – “Everything Is Everything”


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I can’t believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We’re looking up “money laundering” in a dictionary.

P. Gibbons

Funniest of 2016


These are the funniest stories from 2016. Scroll down to find our favorite media from 2016. Some real gems here, folks.

FUNNIEST Stories of 2016:

Vin Scully Takedown

Vin Scully is GREAT. He started broadcasting Dodgers games in 1950. In Brooklyn. He was the broadcaster for the World Series at the age of 25. People of Los Angeles have spent their entire lives with him. As babies, as teenagers, as college dopes driving home for summer. On the way back from the hospital with their first kid, driving away from funerals of parents. Setting out on a roadtrip to the to meet their first grandchild. There has been one constant in a Dodger’s fan’s life: Vin Scully. He has been in the homes and cars of L.A. for 67 years. That’s not a career, that’s a lifetime, and not just his.

Even that – even all of that – does not excuse what I’m about to show you:

00:14 – That mime hug. What a sweet, sincere, grandpa move. Oh, Mr. Scully. Picture of grace and humility. This is too perfect. The Dodger clinch the division on a walk-off home run. Sending out Scully in style.

01:00 – Scully thanking the fans: “Believe me when I tell you I’ve needed you far more than you’ve needed me.” Again, grace and humility. Class act beyond reproach.

01:18 – “Anyway, I wanted to try to express my appreciation to all the players, God bless them, and to all you folks here in the ballpark. It’s a very, very modest thing. I sang this for my wife…” Huh, Vin Scully is going to go out singing a song. That’s pretty cool!

01:40 – “You know the song. ‘The Wind Beneath My Wings’.” WHAT? Oh no, Mr. Scully.

01:53 – “I know it’s modest. I know it’s an amatuer. Do you mind listening?” He’s really going to sing Bette Midler. Don’t do it, man. Don’t sing for 50,000 fans. Not that song. Do ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ or something like that. Come on!

02:01 – Look at all those young bucks down on the field for the Dodgers. They absolutely want to pay their respects. They understand how big of a deal Scully is. They also know there’s about 1,000 beers and champagne just waiting for them. They’re itching to RAGE CAGE. Just waiting for gramps to say his piece.

02:06 – Pre-recorded instrumentation kicks in. So…Scully is going to sing along with Bette Midler, or is this a karaoke situation?

02:20 – Whaaaa? So he wasn’t kidding when he asked the fans if they minded listening…to a recording of Scully singing this song as a much younger man. Seriously, this recording is no doubt from the 80s at the very latest. Also, I cannot believe what is transpiring.

02:24 – Hey, here are fans giving the ol Sign of the Horns while listening to a pre-recorded tape of Vin Scully singing ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’:


02:45 – Just a warm embrace between manager and player, while a pre-recorded tape of Vin Scully singing ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ by Bette Midler plays after they clinched the division. No big deal. WHAT IS GOING ON?!?


02:57 – Scully is tearing up with his arm around his wife, and I feel like an absolute asshole. 67 years of work. The man can do whatever he wants.

03:25 – This guy, giving a misty-eyed salute to Vin Scully while a pre-recorded Vin Scully sings ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ in Dodger Stadium…after the team just won the division. Is this dude attempting to hold his left hand over his heart? God, the Dodgers really are the worst.


05:09 – This song is still going on! A stadium is going to listen to a pre-recorded Vin Scully sing the entire song. Players getting restless. It’s time to rage, dammit. I ask again, WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON?

05:41 – The song is wrapping up. Everyone applauds on a perfect, sunny afternoon in Los Angeles. Of course they are applauding Scully, but 10% of every fan is applauding that the collective awkwardness is over.

05:57 – Scully wave and wipes a tear. I am an asshole.

05:59 – The song is not over, but the champagne party has erupted on the field. This image is taking place while a pre-recorded Vin Scully singing ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ by Bette Midler fades out in a stadium of 50,000 fans.


Wow. Just…wow. – PAL

TOB: Vin Scully is great, and by all accounts is a great person, as this story by ESPN’s Jayson Stark shows. And he’s an old, old man who gets to do whatever the hell he wants…but this was just sooooo awkward. My favorite part was the players on the field, who just wanted to party, man, waiting out this 5-minute song and then going bonkers before the track ends. I love that Vin isn’t really singing along.

It’s Back: Hockey Hair 2016.

Yessssssss. You know it, you love it. Enjoy the 2016 edition of the Minnesota State High School All-Hockey Hair Team. Though it’s a video, it deserves its own post. -TOB

Black Man Discovers Hockey; Mad That White People Have Been Hiding It

This is one of the funnier articles I’ve read in a while. Thank you to loyal reader Ryan West for alerting me to it. Twitter user @soloucity aka Tony X. was attempting to watch the St. Louis Cardinals game the other night. But when he tuned in to Fox Sports Midwest, he found the St. Louis Blues, in a Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Tony X is black, and had apparently never seen hockey before. But he loooooooved it, and live tweeted his experience:

I especially love when he accuses white people hiding it all these years:

Or when he found out there are black professional hockey players:

The Blues won, and hockey won Tony X over. He promises to live tweet the next round. I can’t wait. -TOB

Source: Man Discovers Hockey, Loves It”, Samer Kalaf, Deadspin (04/26/2016)

PAL: Good find, TOB. His reaction to the goalie being pulled is my favorite. And – hey – anything’s better than watching the Cardinals.

Jed York: Poor Little Rich Boy


I loathe Jed York, so I love this story. Tim Kawakami is a longtime writer for the San Jose Mercury-News. A few years back, before Jed ripped the 49ers from San Francisco and moved them to strip-mall-haven Santa Clara, Kawakami tweeted that, if the 49ers finished Levi’s Stadium in time to open the 2014 football season there, he would buy Jed York lunch. It was likely a throw-away joke. Writers say stuff like that often. But the 49ers did open 2014 at Levi’s, and Jed cashed in the bet, even though it wasn’t really a bet because Jed did not have anything on the line to Kawakami. And where does Jed have Kawakami take him for a meal? Chipotle? Subway? Quizno’s? Some other perfectly Santa Clara lunch spot? No. Oh, no. Not Jed. In fact, he doesn’t make it lunch at all. They go to friggin French Laundry in Yountville, at $700 per person. Is Jed magnanimous? Nope. In fact, he sticks Kawakami, a sportswriter, with the bill. And he also makes Kawakami pay for Jed’s wife, for a total bill of $2,100. Kawakami told the story this week on a podcast and said:

If I thought Jed was sticking it to me, I’d almost be okay with it. I don’t even think he knew. I don’t think he knew what $2,100 means to a sportswriter who didn’t inherit a billion-dollar team.

My first thought was, “Well, there must be another side to this story. Surely, there must.” But then Jed York released the following statement:

“The bet took place two years ago and Tim has never shared his concerns about the dinner with me,” York said. “I am happy to speak with Tim one-on-one so we can all move forward.”

Nope. ifThis rich a-hole just decided to make Kawakami pay $2,100 because that is what rich a-holes do. Note that Kawakami also made the bet to Matt Barrows, another writer who covers the 49ers. Barrows was also present at that dinner. Barrows paid for himself.  Jed, you are the worst. -TOB

Source: Jed York Made Tim Kawkami Buy Dinner for York and His Wife at the French Laundry in 2014”, Grant Cohn, Press-Democrat (05/17/2016)

LAX-iest Bros of All the LAX Bros Attend University of Albany

Chaunce. Couger. Blaze. These are not what the cool kids are calling weed these days; rather, these are some of the names on the University of Albany Lacrosse team. Barstool Sports caught this one flush by simply posting the roster of the team, their bios, and adding just a touch of commentary. For a solid laugh, please go check out the entire roster. Here are some of my favorites, followed by the Barstool commentary:


Feel like I’m really missing out by not having a dude named Cougar in my immediate friend group. I’m friends with guys named “Scott” and “Mike” and it’s just all super white and super boring. If we brought Cougar into the mix, I’m sure that would spice things up a bit.


Looks like if Spicoli and some frat star at Georgia or some shit like that had a love child. “Intending to major in business” is sneaky hilarious. Just a great euphemism to say that he doesn’t go to class ever, just chills in his room, smokes weed until lax practice, rinse, repeat.


In comes younger brother Sean who has a bit of a cleaner look to him but you can tell that there’s some bad boy just itching to come out. He’s only a freshman so we’ll check back in a few years to check in on his progress by senior year.

Big shoutout to Meagan Hutcheon, a proud University of Albany alumna, who brought this gem to my attention. – PAL

Source: I Wouldn’t Bring Your Girl Near The UAlbany Lacrosse Team If I Were You”, Jordie, Barstool Sports (4/2/16)

TOB: Look, you can’t hate a kid for having a dumb name (you hate their parents instead). But you can hate a kid for having those stupid haircuts. In unrelated news, did you see I made the newspaper this week? I’m famous:


That’s how you get back on the horse, Day Day

Draymond Green made some news last weekend, if you didn’t hear. Let’s just say he took a page out of the Anthony Weiner playbook. One might think, after a big mistake like that, a public personality like Draymond Green might take a break from social media. Nope! And I’m glad he didn’t, because he gifted the public his review for some of the USA Basketball team players hair. As the kids say, he kept it 100:

hair 3 hair_201.0

Now THIS is what social media is for, Draymond. Good work. – PAL

Source: Draymond Green roasted all his Team USA teammates’ hair, and then his own”, Tim Cato, SB Nation (08/04/2016)

TOB: I’m still on Team Draymond. There are things he could do to make me leave Team Draymond, certainly, but they are up there at the Baylor/Penn State/Greg Hardy/O.J. levels

No, Seriously: You’re a Weirdo, Jim Nantz. Cut it Out.

You just gotta watch this video. Jim Nantz talks about how every year after the college basketball title game he removes his tie and presents it to a senior on the winning team.

He looks so creepy and sounds so self-important while saying it. And, by the way, he didn’t even end the title game with a dumb pun this year! I was super mad at you for not giving me the ammo I needed to make fun of you. And then you gave me this. Bellisima!

Source: Jim Nantz, a Tremendous Weirdo, Gave His Tie to Ryan Arcidiacano” Tom Ley, Deadspin (04/05/2016)

PAL: Language warning…This is so fucking weird.



Thanks for reading, everybody!

-PAL and TOB

Best of 2016


The very best of 123, 2016 edition.

On May 4, 2014 TOB and I started 1-2-3 Sports! for a few simple reasons:

  1. We found ourselves sending a bunch of emails, texts, and chats with links to stories we’d read throughout the week. Many of you were probably on those chains, too.
  2. There’s a surplus of outlets for sports news, highlights, and stories, all of which are one tweet away. We didn’t need more sports stories; rather, we thought a bit of curation would be helpful.
  3. Perspective oftentimes helps. By posting once a week rather than multiple times a day, we could sift through a bunch of stories throughout the week, find some gems that are worth your time, and provide you with some explanation and banter.

We love doing this, and we hope you enjoy it. Quite frankly, the vast majority of our readers are close friends and family, and it’s really cool to hear you enjoy the blog. If you do love it, please add one small New Years resolution to your list: Share 1-2-3 Sports! with your friends and family! We’d really appreciate it.

Email: 123sportslist@gmail.com

Twitter: @123sportsdigest


Thank you for reading, and now please enjoy our favorite post of the year! And be on the lookout for the funniest stories, videos, and media from 2016 tomorrow.


Phil and Tommy

The Tragedy of Jennifer Frey

Jennifer Frey was, by all accounts, a prodigious sportswriter. Multiple people in the newspaper industry went as far as to characterize her as a genius.

Jennifer Frey was also an addict. On March 26, 2016 Frey died of multiple organ failure. She was 47. 

You likely haven’t heard of her. I hadn’t until Thursday. But to many involved in college and professional sports in the 90s, Frey was known as the most talented of writers and a joyful force of nature. She was the rising star. 

You might be asking yourself why Dave McKenna’s exceptionally written profile/remembrance was posted on October 27 when she died back in March. I think you’ll find your answer if you read this story (I urge you to do so). McKenna retracks Frey’s career – from her first high school internship at the Olean Times, to the New York Times (at age 24), to the Washington Post in its heyday of sportswriting (Kornheiser, Wilbon, John Feinstein), and ultimately to her unremarkable last byline. He speaks with several writers, editors, and friends from every chapter of her life.

The story is heartbreaking because McKenna takes his time capturing just how incandescent Frey was before alcoholism pinned her down. And while she was the ‘life of the party’, she was also revered as a gracious friend and co-worker, as someone crisscrossing the globe not only for the next great story but also for a spontaneous trip when she learned her friend had been to every state but Alaska. Yes, she was passionate about her job, but McKenna finds the real point that matters: Frey was passionate about life!

This snapshot, which serves as a sort of bookend to the story, captured her success, ambition, and appreciation (remember, Frey’s 24 at the time, working for The New York Times): 

Mike Wise says Frey, new as she was to New York, acted like she owned the city. He recalls sitting with Frey in her apartment in Brooklyn Heights after she’d thrown a party, and just being really happy. “We’re looking out the window at the Statue of Liberty, just this amazing view,” says Wise. “And Jennifer said, ‘It’s a pretty good life isn’t it?’ It was.”

Frey’s downfall is terrible – in all the ways you would expect, and in some ways that you might not. The star fades. She mistreats people she loved. The people who loved her run out of stamina. They reconnect when hope is gone but she’s still there. The blame and anger so insignificant in the wake of a sorrow that trails the rarest of people whose greatness was enthusiastic. 

You gotta read this story. -PAL

Source: The Writer Who Was Too Strong To Live”, Dave McKenna, Deadspin (10/27/16)

TOB: Phil did a really nice job capturing what made this story so great. As with Phil, I had never heard of Jennifer Frey, but damn if it doesn’t now feel like I did. Great writing by McKenna. And if you think you might need help, ask, before it’s too late.

The House That Thacker Built 

This story is one of those that I read and think, “This is why we carve hours out of every week to put this blog together for a relatively small amount of readers.” It has it all. Augusta National Golf Course, which hosts the Masters, is rich as hell. There used to be a neighborhood across the street. But Augusta National bought the entire neighborhood, for over $40 million, all told. And bulldozed them all for a god damn parking lot. Every single house! Except for one – the house owned by Herman and Elizabeth Thacker.


The Thackers built the house nearly 60 years ago. They raised their kids there. Their children, and their grandchildren, and now their great-grandchildren come back for the holidays. They recently celebrated their 60th anniversary there. And ya know what? They like the house, seven-figure payout by the rich pricks at August, be damned. “We really don’t want to go,” Elizabeth Thacker said. And so they haven’t. “Money ain’t everything,” Herman Thacker said, sitting on his deck, surrounded by people returning to their parked cars after a Masters practice round, sipping on some bourbon (ok, I imagined the bourbon). And in the middle of this stupid parking lot, the Thackers remain. Bless you, Herman and Elizabeth Thacker. -TOB

Source: The House That Augusta National’s Millions Can’t Buy” Steve Politi, NJ.com (04/06/2016)

PAL (1/6/17): I love this story for the obvious reason – money will get rich people most everything, but not everything – but it’s more nuanced than that, too. For instance, the family is well aware that Augusta will wait them out and eventually own the house, because “the men in green jackets will always be here, and they will always have the money.” Truth.

This couple of 60 years who, as TOB mentions, have been surrounded by people returning to their parking lot during the tournament likely sat on their porch and watched the lyrics to a Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ play out before them. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

It is worth noting the Thackers did sell another lot they owned in the neighborhood.

One last fun tidbit: The Thackers’ grandson is on the PGA Tour trying to qualify for the Masters one day. I hope it happens, so we can post the follow-up to this story.

The Best There Ever Was?

I like this story because it reminds me of the story Phil shared here a while back about the only kid to ever strike Joe Mauer out during high school. Ayrton Senna is known as one of the greatest F-1 drivers of all-time. A well-regarded documentary about his life was made, Senna, which you can watch on Netflix. Senna died on the track in 1994. Before he was winning F-1 championships, though, he was a teenage go-kart racer. He was very good – but he was not the best. The best was a British guy named Terry Fullerton. A few years older than Senna, Fullerton beat everybody. He never lost to Senna. This fact drove young Senna so mad that he once walked by Fullerton and shoved him into a pool. Senna would move on to bigger and better things. But he never forgot Terry Fullerton. Just before Senna died, he said that Fullerton was the best driver Senna ever raced against:

So why have most race fans never heard of Terry Fullerton? Because Fullerton, now 63, never advanced beyond go-karts. He chose this path because when Terry was 11-years old, his older brother died in a motorbike race. Fullerton did not want to put his parents through that again, having to bury their remaining child. So he continued to race go-karts. He even now coaches go-karts, and barely scratches out a living. When asked if he regrets it, he says he sometimes does – but when Fullerton saw the Senna documentary, and heard Senna say that Fullerton was the best driver Senna ever faced, Fullerton realized he made the right decision. After all, Senna is dead, and Fullerton is enjoying his life. -TOB

Source: Meet the Man Ayrton Senna Could Never Beat”, Alex Lloyd, Jalopnik (09/19/2016)

PAL (1/6/17): Fullerton is simultaneously relatable and extraordinary. You’ve never heard of him, and yet he dominated racing legends. A lot of times trying to measure the gap between “athletic” greatness (sorry, I have to use the quotes for racing) and ourselves is like trying to gauge walking distance in Vegas. You know the difference is very great, and yet I bet we still underestimate it. Stories like this make it even harder to gauge, and that’s fun.

To be the best in the world – at anything, really – is so fascinating, and this story about Terry Fullerton nails that sentiment.

The Man Who Shook Up The World

As we all know, Muhammad Ali passed away last Friday, at age 74. Phil and I happened to be hanging out, watching Eddie Murphy’s “Raw” on Netflix, when I glanced at my phone and read the sad news. We immediately turned on ESPN and watched the retrospectives pour in. ESPN continued the coverage late into the night. Jeremy Schaap, who knew Muhammad Ali better than most because of Ali’s relationship with Jeremy’s dad, the great Dick Schaap, lead the way with some great anecdotes. We laughed at the clips of Ali’s best trash talk:

 And his in-ring exploits (this is at the end of his career, in 1977, and he dodges 21 punches in 10 seconds!!)


We also shook our heads at how early he was obviously showing signs of Parkinson’s, and wondered aloud why he was permitted to fight as long as he did. I considered suggesting a special edition 1-2-3 Sports edition on Saturday morning, but we decided against it: one of our guiding philosophies for this blog is not to bring sports news, but to bring you the best sportswriting we find, and to throw our own take in for good measure. This approach also allows some perspective. Over the last week, I read a lot of words written about Muhammad Ali – almost all of them interesting. Like this old article by Roger Ebert, about watching Rocky II with Ali back in 1979, with some very funny anecdotes, observations, and insights from the Greatest. I also really enjoyed this retrospective. It touches on what made Ali great in the ring, and so beloved out of it; but it addresses his shortcomings, both in the ring and out, as well.

Aerial of Muhammad Ali victorious after his round three knockout of Cleveland Williams during the World Heavyweight Title fight at the Astrodome. Houston, Texas 11/14/1966 (Image # 1002 )

And that’s an important part of the Muhammad Ali story. The man was not a saint, and that’s ok. He can still be loved, even if he wasn’t perfect, and even if he was not really the greatest heavyweight boxer, let alone in any weight class, of all-time. Ali was so beloved because of who he was and what he did: he was generous and kind and made our world a much better place. Ali was funny. He was a great fighter. He was a man of principle. But he could be kind of a jerk, too. Truth be told, I’ve always been a Joe Frazier guy. Joe was tough and he was great, and he was the underdog. I was born 7 years after their last fight, but I watched plenty about it as a kid, and I could not escape the thought that Muhammad Ali was a jerk to his former friend Joe. But the world is not that black and white, either. And so I thoroughly enjoyed this old Sports Illustrated article, written about Ali and Frazier and their final fight – The Thrilla in Manila, their respective mornings after that fight, and the respect that two vicious enemies earned from each other.

“In his suite the next morning he talked quietly. “I heard somethin’ once,” (Ali) said. “When somebody asked a marathon runner what goes through his mind in the last mile or two, he said that you ask yourself why am I doin’ this. You get so tired. It takes so much out of you mentally. It changes you. It makes you go a little insane. I was thinkin’ that at the end. Why am I doin’ this? What am I doin’ here in against this beast of a man? It’s so painful. I must be crazy. I always bring out the best in the men I fight, but Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me. I’m gonna tell ya, that’s one helluva man, and God bless him.”

I hope you read the whole thing. It is poetic and enlightening, and artfully demonstrates the reason I do enjoy boxing, as brutal and corrupt as it may be.

Source: Lawdy, Lawdy, He’s Great”, Mark Kram, Sports Illustrated (10/13/1975)

PAL: Like TOB said, you just gotta read this story. My favorite bit of writing:

“Once, so long ago, he (Ali) had been a splendidly plumed bird who wrote on the wind a singular kind of poetry of the body, but now he was down to earth, brought down by the changing shape of his body, by a sense of his own vulnerability, and by the years of excess. Dancing was for a ballroom; the ugly hunt was on. Head up and unprotected, Frazier stayed in the mouth of the cannon, and the big gun roared again and again.”

A Story That Actually Made Me Feel Bad For Tiger Woods

Long ago, on this very blog, I declared that Tiger Woods no longer deserved the nickname Tiger, and I encouraged our many readers to begin referring to him by his given name: Eldrick. But I’m using Tiger here because Wright Thompson wrote such a great piece on Tiger that I actually feel bad for him.

The nuts and bolts are simple: Tiger Woods was very close to his dad, Earl. Earl was Tiger’s only real friend – both as a kid and as an adult. He was the only person Tiger could really open up to. And then, in 2006, Earl died. To fill the void, Tiger sought comfort by emulating his father, a former Navy SEAL. Tiger began diving deep into advanced military training. It began to consume him. It destroyed his body. And now Tiger, at 40 years old, can barely walk. His golf career is essentially over, and has been for years.

Tiger Gun

But…this article is somehow so much more than that. It’s incredibly well researched. It is insightful, at times poetic. It’s not perfect – more than a couple times I rolled my eyes when it was a little too poetic. But it strikes deep at the universal relationship between a father and a son. And it paints the picture of Tiger Woods, deeply introverted and wildly awkward, as an incredibly talented golfer who never wanted the immense fame he achieved. Or, at least, had severe buyer’s remorse when he got it. Some of the best passages, shockingly, are direct quotes from Tiger’s friend Michael Jordan, who seems to be reaching out to his troubled friend through this story. MJ sees himself in Tiger, making the connection between Jordan’s retirement to play baseball following his father’s death, and Tiger’s military fascination following his. “It could be his way of playing baseball. Soothing his father’s interest.”

Tiger Dad

Michael sees the end for Tiger, even if Tiger doesn’t quite see it himself. “I don’t know if he’s happy about that or sad about that. I think he’s tired. I think he really wishes he could retire, but he doesn’t know how to do it yet, and I don’t think he wants to leave it where it is right now. If he could win a major and walk away, he would, I think.” Jordan goes on to say that, like many of us, Tiger looks back at the events of his life since a major turning point and wishes he could go back in time and do it over again. Do it differently. For Tiger, that turning point was his father’s death. He’d be a better husband, for one. But, of course, he cannot. And so MJ hopes his friend, who has named his boats Privacy and Solitude, finds true companionship. Happiness. Tiger continues to be, by all accounts, a loving and caring father to his two children. And that is why I feel bad for Tiger Woods. He has made mistakes, but he is human. He’s a son who misses his father. He’s a father who loves his children. And he’s a man who wants to be happy. -TOB

Source: The Secret History of Tiger Woods”, Wright Thompson, ESPN.com (04/21/2016)

PAL: We have two depressing stories about sports legends this week: Woods’ focuses on his search for something real in the wake of his father’s death, and Kobe Bryant’s story outlines his decades-long deconstruction of reality in his pursuit of greatness. Both of these dudes are beginning a part of their lives for which they are woefully unprepared. Tiger seems at least to want to find out how to exist in the now; whereas Kobe seems like he just wants to apply his single-minded approach to building a new fantasy world for himself and only himself.

Life Goals.

Shortly after starting this blog, Phil and I decided one of our goals would be to get a press pass to a Giants game. So far, it has not happened – in small part because we have not tried. It was, then, with much self-interest that I read this story of a guy, back in the early-aughts, who fabricated an entire newspaper for the purpose of getting press passes to Atlanta Braves games. This story is the first time Phil Braun told his story, and it’s pretty great. After his photographer buddy sneaks him into a game with an old press pass, Phil decides he really enjoyed himself and wonders how he can get a press pass. He makes up a fake newspaper (“The Duluth Neighbor”) and inquires with the Braves. As it turned out, all he had to do was fax in a request, on the “paper’s” letterhead, signed by his “editor”. It was so easy it’s almost stupid, and Phil got his press pass.


Phil spent many games that season watching from the dugout, or the photographer’s well, snacking on free food in the press box, etc. Taking photos like this, of Chipper Jones going yard.


What a goddamn dream. Then, 9/11 happened and Phil assumed security would be tightened and he’d no longer be allowed to get a press pass so easily. Technically it wasn’t so easy – Phil had to e-mail a headshot. Come on! What the hell. Phil, let’s get some press passes! We’ll start small – San Jose Sabercats or something. By 2018, we’ll be in the clubhouse as the champagne starts flowing another Giants’ even-year World Series title. Amen. -TOB

Source: I Covered the Braves for a Newspaper That Didn’t Exist”, Phil Braun, Deadspin (10/05/2016)

PAL (1/6/17): So…you’re telling me another Phil used essentially the same technique that I used to fudge a bad report card in high school, only he used it to watch MLB baseball games from the dugout? Man, was I thinking too small or what? Forget the Sabercats, TOB; let’s shoot for the moon and see if we can nab a press pass to a Giants game.

Video of the Year:

Songs of the Year: For the hardcore loyalists who scroll towards the bottom of our weekly posts. You’ll see we post a “Song of the Week”. These are not necessarily new songs (rarely are they, in fact), but just what hit me in the right way that particular day. TOB’s jumping on the tune train today. First, let’s turn to JOB to set the mood:

Here are our favorite Songs of the Week from 2016:

TOB: Every Friday I am excited to hear Phil’s new song of the week pick. There are some classics on there that I have loved for years, but the following are songs (or versions, in the case of “Galway Girl”) that I had not heard before Phil introduced them to me here. As you can see above, the whole family enjoys Phil’s playlist regularly. My top five:

  • Crooked Fingers – “Went To The City”
  • Mason Jennings – “The Field”
  • Steve Earle – “Galway Girl”
  • Oh Pep! – “Doctor Doctor”
  • Billy Bragg & Wilco – “California Stars” (lyrics by Woody Guthrie)


  • Alabama Shakes – “Over My Head”
  • Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – “The Tracks of My Tears”
  • The O’Jays – “Emotionally Yours” (Bob Dylan)
  • Willie Nelson – “Buddy”
  • Girls – “Vomit”

Complete 1-2-3 Sports! Playlist:

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Email: 123sportslist@gmail.com

Twitter: @123sportsdigest


“Dancing was for a ballroom; the ugly hunt was on.”

-M. Kram

Week of January 6, 2017


Special “Best of 2016” post is just one more day away!

Just What IS In the Waters of Lake Minnetonka Lately?


A few weeks ago we chronicled the craziness with the Minnesota football team. An alleged gang rape had led the school to suspend ten players, with many recommended for expulsion. In response, the entire team announced it was boycotting the Holiday Bowl against Washington State. In response, the school released the full report of the alleged gang rape. It was…unpleasant. Perhaps as a result, perhaps not, the players ended the boycott shortly thereafter. They went to San Diego, shut down the potent Washington State offense, and won the Holiday Bowl.

Earlier this week, Minnesota fired head coach Tracy Claeys. His crime? Tweeting support of the players’ boycott. Former coach Jerry Kill, who retired two seasons ago for health reasons and was furious (Claeys was Kill’s former assistant). Kill vowed to never again set foot on campus. Hoo boy. What a mess!

AND THEN this morning it has been confirmed Minnesota had hired Western Michigan coach PJ Fleck, a young, successful coach who just led lowly Western Michigan to a 13-1 season, ending in its only loss, a tight game against Big-10 power Wisconsin. He was easily the hottest name on the market. And Minnesota just got him. What a rollercoaster.

And the cherry to that sundae? The video of the w went viral this week, outtakes from a commercial suit for White Bear Mitsubishi involving the Gopher mascot, Goldy, and a Bear who just could not stay up on the ice. Poor bear. I think he broke his face on that last one. What a wild week for “The U”! *snicker* – TOB

Video of the Week:

Bonus Video of the Week

I’ve watched this 20 times. The dunk is amazing, but watch #32, on the court in the foreground. He dead.

Tweet of the Week


PAL Song of the Week: Dwight Yoakam – “I Want You To Want Me” (Cheap Trick)

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Email: 123sportslist@gmail.com